Home>Articles>Assembly Rules Passes Single-Payer Health Care Bill Without Funding Source

Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham speaking Assembly Rules Committee. (Photo: assembly.ca.gov/media)

Assembly Rules Passes Single-Payer Health Care Bill Without Funding Source

‘We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it’

By Katy Grimes, January 6, 2022 4:05 pm

Assembly Constitutional Amendment 11 was introduced Wednesday in the California Legislature to enact significant tax increases to fund universal single-payer health care coverage in California, the Globe reported.

Thursday, Assembly Bill 1400, the “Guaranteed Health Care for All” state-run healthcare bill, which has been kicking around the Assembly for several years now, was heard in the Assembly Rules Committee, but not without some strong debate and some would say, rule breaking, or at least blurred lines enough to be highly dubious.

Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo), the Vice Chairman of the Assembly Rules Committee, strongly objected to passing AB 1400 out of Rules for several reasons, but primarily because the “Guaranteed Health Care for All” bill still has no explanation for how it will be funded.

“We’ve got a state that can’t issue drivers licenses effectively through the DMV, and we’ve got a state that can’t issue unemployment checks properly through the EDD, but we’re going to make all of that a state agency and it’s going to control every aspect of your health care,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said for the 5+ years he has been on the Assembly Rules Committee, “all bills without specified funding are held in the Rules Committee and not referred on to policy committees, unless and until how they will pay for themselves” is written into the bill and analyzed by the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

“I don’t know why we are diverting from that practice today,” Cunningham said. “This bill, AB 1400, does not tell you how it will pay for what would be the largest state bureaucracy in state history… and what will replace every piece of federal, state and private healthcare systems with something run by 9 people.”

“Nowhere in the bill does it tell you what tax increases or set of tax increases are going to fund this very expensive program.”

Cunningham said the bill should be held and not referred to a policy committee, “as has been our practice of bills on this type that have this infirmity – for 5+ years.”

Cunningham explained that a bill of this size and magnitude, which Committee Chairman Ken Cooley (D-Sacramento) was recommending as a single referral to the Health Committee only, should be double-referred to the Revenue and Taxation Committee, at a minimum, as well as referred to the Business and Professions Committee “since it would put an enormous number of people out of work, or put them to work in a very different manner than they work today.”

Cunningham added: “There is no way you pay for a bureaucracy that this bill purports to create, without significant changes in the way the state collects revenue from its citizens. It’s impossible, and we all know that.”

“The bill will upend the state’s revenue and taxation,” he said. “There are Proposition 98 implications for K-12 funding, and Proposition 13 implications. These are big changes and should be vetted by all of the policy committees that we have established in this body to that policy subject matter.”

“Also, there are no estimates on what it is going to cost. This body has not conducted that.”

Cunningham called for the bill to be analyzed by the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, “who are very well-suited to do an analysis, objectively and independently, and come up with numbers that we can all trust.”

Rules Committee Chairman Cooley gave no real explanation for why he wanted to single-refer the bill to the Health Committee without clear funding mechanisms and cost estimates, making it clear that this was a done-deal before the hearing.

That they substituted four quarantined committee members with last-minute alternates, one of which was Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa), Chairman of the Assembly Health Committee, also made it look dubious. Wood even Tweeted out AB 1400’s passage, and an already-prepared press statement even before leaving the hearing room:

#AB1400 has just been referred to Asm Health Committee next week and I am voting to move it forward. Single payer cannot solve all our problems, but it can be a catalyst for change. Here’s my take: bit.ly/3t3Fqnq

Assemblyman Wood’s “take” includes this lightening-speed timeline for passage:

“AB 1400 will be heard in the Assembly Health Committee on January 11, along with several other bills. In order to move forward, AB 1400 must pass its policy committee by January 14 and pass the Assembly by January 31– deadlines for Assembly bills introduced in 2021.”

“This is one of the absolutely worst pieces of legislation I’ve seen since being elected to office,” Assemblyman Health Flora (R-Ripon) told the Globe after the hearing. Flora is also on the Assembly Rules Committee.

Heath Flora
Assemblyman Heath Flora. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

“To change the entire health care system for a $162 billion fee, that means we are going to charge every taxpaying Californian making over $49,000,” he said. “ACA 11 is the funding source to AB 1400. When they realize they don’t have enough money to pay for this, they can raise taxes on everyone on a simple majority vote. They wrote that right into the bill. But anything fiscal has to be a 2/3 majority vote.”

Flora said they don’t want the Legislative Analyst’s Office’s numbers. They don’t want to know the true cost.

“I’m super disappointed in Ken Cooley – he absolutely missed the boat on this, at the very least.”

Flora said this same bill was held back by Assembly Speaker Rendon in 2018. The Globe reported on how Rendon killed the single payer bill:

“In 2018, when the Assembly passed a bill to replace the existing health care system with a single payer system operated by the state government, paid for with taxpayer money, it was estimated at a cost of $400 billion.  SB 562 by then-Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Los Angeles) was shelved by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, knowing it could not pass, and was half-baked with no real funding mechanism.”

Flora said the same bill was held in Rules Committee back then because there was no funding source.

So why the rush now? We asked Flora who is pushing this.

“The CNA – California Nurses Association,” he said. That is no big surprise. But Flora asked, “What about collectively bargained health plans for state and private labor unions? What about the people making $49,000 – the very people the Democrats claim they care so much about. This is the largest tax increase on them.”

Remember in 2010 when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said about Obamacare, “But we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

 

The Globe contacted the California Taxpayers Association and the Cal Chamber for comment. We heard back from the Cal Chamber, and will update the article when CalTax weighs in:

“CalChamber supports a quality and stable health care system for Californians,” said California Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jennifer Barrera. “We urge the Legislature to reject AB 1400 and ACA 11 because these proposals will jeopardize the health care of Californians when they need it most in addition to subjecting taxpayers to roughly $160 billion a year in higher taxes on jobs, income, services and more. We ask that policymakers focus on ways to achieve affordable health care without upending a proven system that currently covers 94% of Californians. Californians need and deserve a stable health care system they can rely on at all times, especially now.”

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21 thoughts on “Assembly Rules Passes Single-Payer Health Care Bill Without Funding Source

  1. This is a disaster. Passed along without an explanation for funding. It will hurt the very people it is supposed to help. Forget the cost, as if you could —- it’s a disaster APART from that, as was pointed out by those quoted. As usual! What else is new! We cannot go on like this, burdened by the wild hairs of a Dem legislature who succumbs to pushing disasters on us because of a knife held to their throats by unions such as the California Nurses Association.

  2. So I cant get a mortgage without documenting my ability to pay, but the state wants to enact socialized medicine without detailing the corresponding funding??

  3. It seems that California is intent on driving the middle class either out of the state or down into the poverty level. It is becoming more and more difficult to stay in this state and have a reasonable income and lifestyle.

  4. So it would appear that the state is hellbent on forcing out a good chunk of the 94% of state residents that already have health coverage. And how many of those 6% without it are living here illegally? And what will happen when word gets out that anyone who lives in CA gets “free” health care? Hopefully there are still enough smart voters come November who will shoot this down as we have past massive tax increases on the ballots.

  5. Democrats have already rejected science, economics, truth and sanity so their rejection of math is hardly surprising.

  6. By the way, why is CA single-payer health care even necessary as a practical matter, aside from the CA Dems being able to say they did it, take credit (but not responsibility) for it, presumably scoop up votes because of it, make a mess of it (thus necessitating the next proposed debacle), when the taxpayer already has been and is continuing to pick up the bill for every imaginable socialized health care program already in existence? In other words, isn’t this version of single-payer health care in California duplicative —— just for starters?

  7. Commrados
    It’s worse….they will fold in federal medicaire money of seniors ……and …..seniors will be herded into Soviet style dorms for health recuperation after third world doctors have done their incredious blunders.
    Corporations will still pay big time into the system, any dollar you make will be very very cruely taxed, and you know the rich and Commissars will have Caddilac carve outs for high end health care….

    This program will finish off the California Dream ushering in a MAD MAX existence ….

    And..,,a good job will be a barista assistant in Chula Vista, Bellflower, Salinas or shucking lettuce for tony salad mixes for your local Commissar owned French Laundry’s.

  8. More emotion-based legislation brought to you by dozens of legislators whose prior work experience consists mostly as activists, lawyers, and politician office staffers included zero understanding of economics, finance, and/or accounting. The fifth largest economy in the world is under the watchful eye of glorified interns.

  9. As I understand it, this single payer health insurance bill calls for a constitutional amendment. Unless you can amend the constitution unilaterally during a state of emergency, all this did was to set up a process whereby the question of whether the people want single payer health care in CA would be put to the voters. Also, how exactly would this work? Would CA outlaw all other health insurance in favor of some politicized bureaucratic scheme? Or do they imagine the people are going to agree to be taxed to pay for this Medi Cal on steroids for people who qualify and still have to pay for your own health insurance they think you are rich. Are they planning to take over the medical facilities in the state and make all medical providers employees of the state who are required toe their line on health care and delivery of medical treatment? This just looks like just another crazy virtue signaling action like supposedly banning gas car sales in five years… The insanity in Sacramento has hopefully reached its zenith and the next election will bring some much needed balance back to the system.

  10. California already has some of the highest taxes in the United States and is losing residents as a result but California’s Democrat cabal aren’t deterred. The proposed amendment, ACA 11, would hike several key taxes to fund a state-level government healthcare scheme. According to the Tax Foundation , it would increase the average household’s taxes by an astonishing $12,250. There’s an income surcharge (on top of the already-high state income taxes) that applies starting at $149,509 in earnings. There’s also a payroll tax add-on, with the top rate applying to employees earning $49,990 or more. Then, there’s a 2.3% business tax hike on gross receipts above the first $2 million a business takes in. If this lame brain Democrat amendment comes to pass, the mass exodus from California to lower-tax states will only speed up?

  11. I really hope this passes and people within California at least, can feel like they live in a first world country for the first time. The rest of the U.S. will just have to wait. People whining about costs are fools, it’s much cheaper and more efficient to get healthcare in a single payer system than in this disgusting nightmare we call a medical system now, where you pay 10x as much for worse outcomes than every other country in the world and your insurance often doesn’t work where you want it to because your doctors are “out of network”. People die every day of this criminally sick system we have here, it has to stop, especially in a place where some people claim it is an advanced country, and some even say it’s the best. We need to make that not laughable. This is a good first step.

    1. There are stupid people & idiots. You seem to be more of both. Canada & the United Kingdom have Government run health care. People from both countries come to the USA for treatment because they have such poor service.

  12. @Paul If you think that health care in the US is bad now (hint: it isn’t), wait until you have a single payer system where the government tells a doctor how much they can charge for a given procedure (which is often 40% less or more than what they would have normally charged). It will cause a massive decrease in the quality of care in this state. Many hospitals will close and most doctors will move to other states where they will be paid what they expect. Yes, we pay more for health care in the US than any other nation, but we also get what we pay for. Not to mention that we fund the majority of medical research throughout the world.
    And we already see how poorly the DMV and EDD and every other state run agency is managed. How can we possibly expect this state to effectively manage everyone’s healthcare? Plus, do we really want highly politicized state bureaucrats to dictate what health care we can and cannot access? And in light of the fact that they want to cover all illegal residents as well, who won’t be paying the taxes to fund this, implementing this would be a complete disaster. Plus, do we really want highly politicized state bureaucrats to dictate what health care we can and cannot access?
    Remember, the vast majority of people already have health insurance provided by their employer and most of us our happy with this. Those who don’t can get it via the insurance exchanges and those who can’t afford it can get Medi-Cal. The vast majority of us don’t want our current health insurance, which works, to be replaced by a badly run state government version that will end up driving many of the most qualified medical professionals out of the state.
    As always, remember that giving the government more money doesn’t get you better government, it just gets you more government (in the form of more people filling chairs). And I say this as someone who works as a government employee in this state.

  13. “The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.”
    ― Vladimir Lenin

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